Representatives from the Ministry of Shipping, Surface Transport, regulatory bodies like customs, port authorities and business bodies and transporters will participate to discuss the finer details and resuming the actual physical movement of goods in these routes and to highlight the administrative interventions required from both sides – India and Bangladesh.
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal and Minister of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh, Tipu Munshi; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh, Dr. AK Abdul Momen; Adviser to Prime Minister, Bangladesh, International Affairs, Gowher Rizvi will participate in the event. Besides, a high level 60 members’ delegation of leaders and officials from Bangladesh and a similar contingent from various ministries of Government of India is expected to attend the two-day Stakeholders’ Meet.
Assam industry minister, Chandra Mohan Patwary said that it is the firm conviction of the government, that the future growths of Assam and entire North-East lies in its re-integration with this region, as both have a large amount of commonalities in terms of the DNA, food, social and cultural fabric.
“The geo-strategic location of North-East and Assam should be leveraged in this region to catapult India’s presence in the ASEAN and BBN regions.” Patwary added.
He said that as part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision on Act East, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is taking a number of path breaking initiatives to implement the Act East Policy.
Patwary said that historically, Assam has been a rich and prosperous region with its resources namely, oil, tea, timber and coal. The British understood the business importance of these commodities and traded these to the outside world through the Stilwell Road, Tamu-Moreh-Mandalay Road, train route from Makum to Chittagong, the river route from Brahmaputra via ferries to Calcutta Port and Chittagong Port and the road routes from Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura to Bangladesh.
The Chief Minister has taken upon himself to restore all these trade routes and has taken up the matter with the concerned ministries of Shipping, Surface Transport and Railways to expedite the various projects like the Asian Trilateral Highway, the Kaladan Project, opening of the Chittagong Port to North East India, dredging of the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers to make them navigable through the entire year and early completion of the Akhaura-Agartala missing railway link.
In this connection, the legislators and senior government officials, embarked upon a bus journey from Guwahati to Sylhet and from Imphal to Manadalay and Yangon, to understand the various issues, problems and opportunities which trade routes offer in these two countries, and also beyond these two countries with ASEAN.
Patwary said the delegation from Assam had a fruitful discussion on how to resume trade. The delegation had a discussion with senior functionaries of Government of Bangladesh and divisional and local administration of Sylhet. Further, a detailed meeting was held with Sylhet Chambers of Commerce. During the deliberation, issues relating to bilateral trade and investment between Assam and Bangladesh and issues relating to infrastructure, connectivity and tourism, both at the Northeast India regional level and at the state level were discussed.
“One of the highlights of the visit was to sensitize and appraise the delegation members on the status of the Government of India’s funded connectivity initiative, progress of work in the India-Myanmar Friendship Highway and the stretch of the Trilateral Highway.
The team from Assam had a High Level Delegation Meeting with the Government of Myanmar on exploring greater ‘Economic Cooperation and Connectivity’, where the Chief Minister of Mandalay Region Government, Dr. Zaw Myint Maung along with his cabinet ministers were present, ” The minister added.
The team also engaged in a meeting on ‘Enhancing Bilateral Commercial Relations’ with Vice President of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry at Yangon.